Saturday, January 9, 2010

Through a Scanner Nudely

In 9 short years, plane travel has become an exercise in patience and the ability to withstand discomfort and humiliation. Not only do we have to take off our shoes with the fervent hope that the smell of our feet doesn't offend our fellow passengers, but now we will have our bodies scanned, electronically stripped, and studied by a guy in a room. Supposedly our faces will be pixelized, thereby encouraging Scanner Guy to leer or jeer at our naked bodies without actually being able to determine who we are when he leaves his post to use the men's room.

What I wonder is, who will be watching him? And how popular will this job be? At first glance, it would seem like a voyeur's wet dream job. But seriously, if you picked 100 people at random, how many would we actually want to see naked? Will the occasional hottie be worth the more common not-so-physically-appealing bodies Scanner Guy will be forced to look at? Will it be worth having to peer at the body of the 85-year-old guy on his way to visit his great-grandchildren, to make sure Great-Grandpa isn't packing explosives in his Depends?

Of course, there may be female scanners too, but will they actually be in different rooms? Chances are, passengers will just have the illusion of gender privacy, but in reality they'll both be looking, in addition to having someone else to make fun of the passengers with. "Hey Bob, look at THAT one! Bet THOSE tits aren't real!"

I heard we might actually be able to choose our terrorist-detection method. If we don't want Scanner Guy to see us naked, we can decide to have someone pat us down and stick their hand in our pants instead. Or we can choose the crotch-sniffing dog method. Hmmm. I'd probably choose Pat-down-Guy if he's cute.

Unfortunately the ordeal isn't over once we make it onto the plane, either. Now we have to do what we can to control our bodily functions in the last hour of the flight, lest we be forced to rush into the bathroom before the flight attendant can strong-arm us, resulting in an international incident and a cover story in TIME. Not exactly how I'd like my 15 minutes of fame.

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